Things to Do on a Budget in Monmouth & Ocean Counties this October 2015

halloween-family-traditionsIt’s going to be a “spook-tacular” month! Get the family ready for an action-packed month filled with fun fall and Halloween activities. Check out the events below for free or inexpensive events happening in a town near you.

Friday, October 2 – Sunday, November 1: iPlay America (Freehold) will transform this October to Spooky Spooktacular Halloween! All month long experience a Halloween event like no other in Central NJ. This family friendly event features OVER 50 live show performances, Trick or Treat Trail, decorations and Halloween themed activities for all. This Halloween experience is one you don’t want to miss! For more information, call 732-577-8200.

Friday, October 2 & Saturday, October 3: Spend “An Evening with Edgar Allan Poe” at Historic Allaire Village (Farmingdale). A spookily delightful evening with the Master of Macabre himself: Mr. Poe, presented by Helen McKenna-Uff. Advanced purchase required at just $20 a person. For more information, call 732-919-3500.

Saturday, October 3: The feel-good spirit of Highlands’ Oktoberfest is modeled on the traditional Munich, Germany Oktoberfest with an emphasis on eating, drinking, and dancing while providing something for everyone. The park is festive, the food is great, and the varieties of German beers are even better. This event will be held from 2pm-9pm and guests can enjoy free admission and parking! For more information, call 732-291-4713.

Friday, October 9 & Saturday, October 10: You’re in for a special treat – Historic Allaire Village (Farmingdale) will be holding a reading of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” with Neill Hartley. Enjoy an interactive retelling of the classic american folk tale with your family and friends. Advanced purchase is required at just $20 a person. For more information, call 732-919-3500.

Sunday, October 11: Once again, Allaire Village (Farmingdale) is hosting a 19th Annual Century All Hallow’s Eve event! What IS the origin of the Jack O’Lantern? Why do we trick or treat? Ever wonder what makes Halloween “Halloween?” Find out all about the early traditions that make up Halloween today!  There will be free pumpkins (limited), storytelling, children’s games, tractor and wagon rides and so much more! There will also be a costume parade with prizes for children under 12 (three different age categories). For more information, call 732-919-3500.

Sunday, October 18: Asbury Park has conjured up some noteworthy ghosts – a few famous, most lesser-known-to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War for the 7th Annual Historic Ghost Walk. Hear first-hand tales of the battlefield and home-front from ghosts with New Jersey connections. The actors portraying ghosts include talented amateurs (students) and a few professionals. They have studied the history they “channel” and deliver performances that entertain and inform. Some are stationed outside; others perform at a reception for President and Mrs. Lincoln inside the Library’s Terner Gallery. Guests can even walk outside and stroll along the path east of the Museum, encountering ghosts. Head over to the Eden Wooley House grounds (703 Deal Rd, Asbury Park) at 5:30pm. For more information, call 732-531-2136.

Wednesday, October 21: Save the date! The Monmouth Museum presents a Paranormal Expedition & Luncheon at Our House Restaurant (a known haunting) in Farmingdale from 11:30am-2:30pm. The luncheon will be guided by paranormalist, Kathy Kelly. A medium will be present to help connect to the dearly departed and share her experiences. Reserve your seat today! For more information, call 732-224-1993.

Saturday, October 24th: The Highlands will be hosting their 1st Annual Zombie Parade and Pub Crawl! Shamble down Bay Avenue with fellow zombies – makeup artists will be available at 10am and those interested must register for the parade. The pub crawl registration includes limo bus and great discounts at local establishments. For more information, call 732-291-4713.

Halloween Parades:

Happy Halloween, everyone! 

First Financial Foundation Offers Classroom Grants to Local Educators

Classroom Grant Pic

To submit an entry, please email no later than 11:59pm on October 30th. All grant recipients will be notified by the First Financial Foundation on our about November 13th, 2015.

Good Luck!

*To apply, please email the essay or the link to your YouTube video to the First Financial Foundation at by 11:59pm on 10/30/15. Please be sure to include your name, position, school name, school address, school phone number and email address so we can contact the grant recipients. The six (6) winners will be notified by the First Financial Foundation on or about 11/13/15.

Maximize Your Most Valuable Resource: Time

“You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.” – Jim Rohn

By now, you’ve been enjoying the perks of longer days: better weather, a happier mood and a little more time to get things done! You may have heard the phrase “time is more valuable than money,” but no matter how long the sun lingers in the sky, most of us sti1-free-timell find ourselves wishing for one more hour in the day. We’re a busy society, and the demands on our time often pull us in many directions at once.

Are you feeling like the clock runs out too soon on your daily plans? Check out these tips for maximizing your time and extracting more value out of those extra daylight hours.

Planning Your Time = A Smart Use of Time

Reserve 15 minutes each morning to plan how you would like to spend the time in your day. Start with free-form lists for family, work, and yourself and then prioritize. If you prefer using your phone to organize tasks, there are plenty of amazing apps to help master your daily to-do list.

Don’t measure your success based on finishing an entire list: get to your most important items, then use 15 minutes at night to review your progress and begin thinking about the next day. By instituting these “bookends” on your day, you’ll relieve the stress of feeling like you’re not in control of your time and go to bed feeling a real sense of accomplishment.

Supercharge Your Time Effectiveness

You already consider the cost-effectiveness of your purchases. How about considering the time-effectiveness of your actions? Before taking on a task, consider if you’re using your time well: Are you adding too many steps? Could you delegate or ask for assistance? Is this task contributing to your priorities?

Once you’ve determined your time-effectiveness, consider using the “one-touch rule.” Popular among productivity experts, the one-touch rule means you must finish a task completely once you start it. No switching to a new task or giving in to distractions. If your task is on your computer, try Freedom, software that disconnects your computer from the Internet to keep you from browsing the web. The one-touch rule allows you to complete, say, three big tasks by the end of the day instead of having ten incomplete projects on your hands. Try it out – and don’t be hard on yourself if life sometimes gets in the way!

Take Advantage of Wait Times

A not-so-fun irony: the busier we get, the more downtime we face waiting! Whether it’s at the doctor’s office, in the grocery store line or waiting for the train, small wait times can add up to considerable hours wasted. Always keep a notebook or tablet on hand to brainstorm for a project that needs your attention, catch up on emails or check in on your household budget. Your phone is great, too. Sometimes you’re the most productive when you have no other options competing for your attention!

Respect Your Energy

You can certainly fill every available second of your day with tasks, but if you don’t have the energy to complete them, what’s the point? Respect your finite amount of energy and try to find times throughout the day for fun, rest and re-charging – whether it’s a walk around the block, some extra quality time with your children or even five minutes of quiet time on the couch. And always give yourself downtime between tasks! You’ll be more focused, present and diligent when you take the time for self-care.

Here at First Financial, we respect your time and strive to provide convenient banking solutions everyday. Click on the links below to learn more about a few services we offer to help make your life a little easier:

Article courtesy of MintLife Blog.

Learn “How to Close Out Your 4th Quarter & Get Ready for the New Business Year” this October 2015

shutterstock_82803304-830x553Are you looking to learn the best ways to end 2015 to better prepare you for the new year? Jack Gottlieb, President & CEO of the Total Solutions Group, Inc. will be providing top-notch information to help you organize your business in order to properly close out the year without the stress. We invite business owners, those interested in starting a business and professionals in the marketing and sales fields to attend this informational seminar.

Attending this seminar, you will learn how to:

  • Understand the proven process for how you need to work on your business while you are working in your business
  • Build or improve your business model to ensure you are creating and delivering value that impacts your customers and your growth
  • Increase the true impact of your marketing strategy by balancing brand/value proposition identity, showcasing (how to give people a real experience) and market intelligence so what you are doing is aligned with what people are looking for

Join us on Thursday, October 8th at 8:30am for networking and a light breakfast followed by our seminar, How to Close Out Your 4th Quarter & Get Ready for the New Business Year.” The seminar will be held at First Financial’s Corporate Office located at 1800, Rt. 34 North, Building 3, Suite 302, Wall, NJ. Space is limited – register below.

Jack Gottlieb is the President & CEO of The Total Solutions Group, Inc. a strategic consulting, training and coaching firm committed to driving a sustainable increase to an organization’s results, value proposition and culture. Jack brings 14 years of proven high level success along with the collective capability of his team and advisory board. Jack has also been one of the highest ranked speakers at various state wide SHRM (Society of Human Resource Managers) Annual Conferences as well as the New Jersey Organizational Development Annual Conferences for the past 7 years. Jack also serves on the Executive Board Collegiate Empowerment which is an educational firm committed to driving systemic change and impact for Colleges and Universities. Jack also is actively involved with two universities. The first is Kutztown University where he is one of the key leaders of the College of Business Advisory Board to support their efforts in further development and expansion. The second is with Rider University with their Center for the Development of Leadership Skills.

FREE “Identity Theft Protection & Financial Security for Your Family” Seminar this September 2015

bigstock-Cutout-paper-chain-family-with-16555013Identity theft is the fasting growing crime in the United States and about 19 people per minute fall victim to identity theft.* First Financial encourages you to be cautious – especially when it comes to the Internet, and always be on the lookout for instances of online fraud. This free seminar will teach attendees about these important preventative measures.

Attending this seminar, you will learn:

  • The best way to safeguard your personal information
  • Common warning signs of identity theft
  • How you can defend yourself from identity theft
  • How to react if you suspect identity theft
  • Most common ways identity theft occurs

Join us on Tuesday, September 29th at 6pm for our free consumer seminar titled, Identity Theft Protection & Financial Security for Your Family, presented by the experts at First Financial. The seminar will be held at our Toms River branch located at 1360 Route 9 South, corner of Route 9 and 571. We invite you to bring a guest but space is limited, so make sure you sign up today!

*Click here to view fact source.

Things to Do on a Budget in Monmouth & Ocean Counties this September 2015

family-picnic-outdoors-meals-summerSummer is officially winding down and all the children are heading back to school for another year, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of great events happening near you. Check out the list of activities that are kicking off the fall season. As always, feel free to post a comment and share your experience from any of the events listed here. Enjoy!

Friday, September 4 – Sunday, September 6: A musical perfect for the whole family, Seussical is a based on a combination of Dr. Seuss’s most famous books and beloved characters. This charming story teaches us the importance of believing in yourself and embracing uniqueness. Seussical is a production of Howell Police Athletic League Theater Company, a non-profit children’s theater company, dedicated to the children of Howell and the surrounding communities. See your favorite stories brought to life at the Algonquin Theatre (Manasquan)! For more information, call 917-838-8429.

Saturday, September 5 & Sunday, September 6: The Garden State Wine Growers Association presents the Jazz It Up Wine Festival at Historic Allaire Village (Farmingdale). The 2015 Jazz it Up Wine Festival will tickle your palate while the jazz man tickles the ivories. Move your soul with tastings of hundreds of wines from 17 premier New Jersey wineries and some of the finest jazz acts on the east coast. This festival is the perfect way to beat the shore crowds while still enjoying the outdoors in September. Enjoy two days of delicious local wine sampling, fantastic foods, live jazz, crafters, kids’ activities, and more! For more information, call 732-919-3500.

Saturday, September 12: It’s time for the 11th Annual SkimBash Contest! The SkimBash, held in Sea Bright, is the premier professional/amateur skimboarding contest on the Jersey Shore. Skimboarders of all ages, from beginners to professionals, gather for this annual action-packed two-day event to show off their skills, and compete for prizes and cash from 8am-5pm. For more information, call 732-598-6028.

Thursday, September 10 – Sunday, September 13: Surfers and fans alike come back to the stretch of beach between 16th and 18th Ave in Belmar on the same weekend each year for the Annual Belmar Pro Surf Competition! Traveling pros recognize that this contest has a great history of waves and in the past, they’ve come from Australia, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Europe, South Africa, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and all over the US. Event-goers will be able to enjoy fun contests, autograph signings, demos, bands, food vendors, and giveaways. And the action doesn’t stop when the last horn goes for the day – the evenings are packed with parties, live bands at various venues, and film premieres! For more information, call 732-681-6405.

Friday, September 18 – Sunday, September 20: Head on over to FirstEnergy Park (Lakewood) for the Jersey Shore Boat Sale & Expo! This event is produced by the Marine Trades Association of New Jersey (MTA/NJ) and features over 20 top dealers, 50 of boating’s best brands, and 300 boating related businesses. Adults are just $4 and children 12 and younger are free (plus, free parking)! For more information, visit this link.

Saturday, September 19: Bring the whole family to enjoy an exciting day at the 4th Annual Open Space Pace and Festival of Horses at Freehold Raceway! Come join this free all-day event featuring of a parade of horses, demonstrations by equine and agricultural non-profits, live harness racing, petting zoos, live music, and more. The Open Space Pace is dedicated to the preservation and protection of open space in New Jersey. For more information, call 732-577-4059.

Friday, September 25 – Sunday, September 27: Raceway Park (Englishtown) is holding their 39th Annual Fall Swap Meet & Auto Show presented by PC Richard and Son! Attendees will be able to browse a wide display of antique, classic, and commercial cars as well as over 3,000 vendors, over 300 cars for sale, and much more! The event will take place from 7am-6pm – for more information, call 732-446-7800.

Sunday, September 27The Red Bank Guinness Oyster Festival is a great time for family and friends and is fashioned after the 61-year-old Galway Oyster Festival celebrating the opening of the oyster season. It is a huge food and music festival which will showcase Red Bank’s excellent restaurants as well as entertain thousands with great live music, food, and family fun. For more information, call 732-842-4244.

Have a great September!